Register now for President Phipps’ NCRA Town Hall

Register now for the first virtual NCRA Town Hall with President Christine Phipps, RPR, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 19,  at 10 a.m. (Eastern). Phipps will take this opportunity to discuss how NCRA members are coping during the pandemic and what the Association can do to assist them. She will also talk about upcoming webinars NCRA will host during its Mental Health Awareness Week Oct. 4-11. Phipps will be joined by NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Members can also catch up on previous Town Halls by clicking here. Only NCRA Members may attend the Town Halls. Why wait? Register now!

Slate of NCRA nominees

NCRA’s Nominating Committee announced the following nominees to fill the open seats on the NCRA Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 year. The slate includes nominations for President-Elect, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, and two Director seats for three-year terms.

President

Christine Phipps, RPR, North Palm Beach, Fla.

Christine Phipps, RPR

Christine Phipps is a court reporter with 27 years of experience. She owns Phipps Reporting, Inc., headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla. She holds the national professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and the Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. She is also a licensed court reporter in New Jersey and Tennessee and is an Eclipse software trainer.

At the national level, Phipps has co-chaired NCRA’s Technology Committee and Freelance Community of Interest Committee and served on the Association’s Strategic Alliance Task Force, its Education Content and Vendor Task Force committees. Phipps participated in the rewrite of NCRA’s Deposition Handbook, is a frequent contributor to the JCR, and a speaker at conventions. She has also served as a Director for NCRA and as Vice President and President-Elect.

She is the recipient of a number of business awards, including Woman of Outstanding Leadership by the International Women’s Leadership Association and Most Enterprising Women of the Year by Enterprising Women magazine. In 2016, she earned the Individual Member Award for the inaugural JCR Awards, and in 2017 she was named South Florida District Small Business Woman-Owned Person of the Year. Her firm was included in Inc. magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America every year since 2014, achieving Honor Roll status in 2018 for being on the list for five consecutive years.

President-elect

Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah

Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC

Debra A. Dibble is a 30-year court reporter veteran who began her career working in the judicial arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Memphis, Tenn. She holds the nationally recognized professional credentials of Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC), and she has qualified in the National Speed and National Realtime competitions multiple times. She also holds the Realtime Systems Administrator Certification and has provided broadcast captioning and CART services for more than a decade.

At the state level, Dibble served on the Utah Court Reporters Board of Directors for 10 years, serving as the president for two years, and receiving the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2010.

At the national level, Dibble has served as an NCRA Chief Examiner, as a delegate to the National Committee of State Associations from 2008 to 2012, and on numerous NCRA committees. Dibble has served on the NCRA’s Board of Directors for eight years, including a three-year term as Secretary- Treasurer. She has also served as a presenter at the national and state levels.

In addition to earning her Utah CSR, she is also certified in California, Nevada, and Texas and has been a grand jury reporter in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

Dibble also served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) for three years. For the past year plus, she has been leading the team dedicated to turning the vision of a new professionals training program sponsored by the Foundation, now known as NCRF Career Launcher, into a reality.

Vice president

Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, CRR, Webster, N.Y.

Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, CRR

Meredith A. Bonn, a graduate of Alfred State College, Alfred, N.Y., has been a court reporter since 1990. She was named official senior court reporter in 2007 for the Seventh Judicial District in the New York State court system where she is assigned to the Rochester courthouse. From 2000 to 2007, she served as an official court reporter assigned to City and Family Court. She worked as a freelance court reporter from 1990

to 2000.  She also holds the New York State Certified Shorthand Reporter and New York

State Court Reporters Association (NYSCRA) Realtime Court Reporter certifications.

She is a current member of NYSCRA and served as a member of its Board for six years. She is a current member of the StenoCAT Users Group. Bonn is also actively involved with promoting the court reporting profession to students and to the general public. She is a frequent presenter for the Careers in the Courthouse program and a mentor to several students. Bonn is also the creator and presenter of the Power of the Positive Attitude presentation and the coordinator of the NCRA A to Z® Intro  to Steno Machine Shorthand program in the Western New York area.

On the national level, Bonn has served for three years as a Director and serves on

the Finance, Policies & Procedures, and the NCRA A to Z committees.

Secretary-treasurer

Kristin M. Anderson, RPR, San Antonio, Texas

Kristin M. Anderson, RPR

Kristin M. Anderson is an official court reporter for Bexar County Civil District Court. She holds the nationally recognized professional certification of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR). With more than 20 years of experience, she has worked both as a freelance reporter in Kansas and Missouri and as an official court reporter for Illinois and Kansas.

Anderson worked for the U.S. District Court Western District of Texas from 2013 through 2017 and has her Federal Certified Realtime Reporter (FCRR) designation with the United States Court Reporters Association (USCRA).

At the national level, Anderson is a past chair of the National Committee of State

Associations and served on that committee in various capacities from 2006 through 2014. She also served on the Veterans Liaison Committee of NCRA’s New Professionals Committee, the Membership and Telemarketing Committee, and the Steno Opportunities in the Courts Task Force.

At the state level, Anderson has served in numerous positions and on various com- mittees for the Kansas Court Reporters Association, including as president for two terms. She served on the Texas Court Reporters Association Convention and Ethics Committees in 2015-2016. Anderson is a member of the Bexar County Court Reporters Association, Texas Court Reporters Association, Texas Depositions Reporters Association, the Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting (better known as STAR), and USCRA.

Director

Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, Fort Collins, Colo.

Jason T. Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC

Jason T. Meadors began his career in court reporting while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1975-1978. He has worked as a freelance court reporter and an official reporter and has owned his own firm since 1989. Meadors holds the nationally recognized professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR), Certified Realtime Reporter (CRR), and Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC). He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters (FAPR).

During his career, Meadors has reported in nearly two dozen states, as well as in China, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, South Korea, and Taiwan.

At the national level, Meadors has served on numerous NCRA committees, as well as on the Board of Directors and as Secretary-Treasurer. He is also a contributor to the JCR magazine and has presented seminars at the national and state levels.

His volunteer service has included numerous positions with the leadership of the Colorado Court Reporters Association, including as president. He also served on numerous committees as a member and or chair. In 2000, Meadors was awarded the association’s Distinguished Service Award. He also was the recipient of its 1996, 2001, and 2008 Presidential Appreciation Award.

He and his wife, Sherri, have been married for 46 years. They have three children and six grandchildren. Meadors is also an avid writer and photographer.

Director

Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, Waukee, Iowa

Cathy L. Penniston, RPR, CRI

Cathy L. Penniston is a teacher and broadcast captioner from Waukee, Iowa. Penniston spent 30 years working as an official court reporter for the state of Iowa before receiving a realtime cap- tioning training grant and transitioning into a remote television broadcast captioning career. She has also worked as a freelance court reporter and a CART provider. Penniston currently teaches reporting classes at the Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa. She also works as an independent broadcast captioner.

Penniston has served as president, vice president, and secretary of the Iowa Court Reporters Association. She has volunteered multiple times to assist with the annual National Court Reporters Foundation phone-a-thon fundraising campaign and the Veterans History Project.

Penniston is the recipient of the Roy Voelker Memorial Award for Distinguished Service for the court reporting profession of the state of Iowa. She is also the recipient of the Indian Hills Com- munity College Vision Award Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.

Penniston holds a master’s degree in Education from Clarke University, a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Iowa Wesleyan College, an associate’s degree from Indian Hills Community College, and an associate’s degree in Court Reporting from the American Institute of Business. She holds the national professional certifications of Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) and Certified Reporting Instructor (CRI).

At the national level, Penniston has served on numerous NCRA committees and enjoys leading the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand sessions. She has served as a member of the NCRA Board of Directors since 2018.

Register now to attend the August 2020 Board of Directors meeting

NCRA members are invited to attend the Aug. 6 meeting of the Board of Directors being held virtually at 9 a.m. Eastern, in lieu of the annual business meeting. Registration for the meeting closes at 4 p.m. Eastern on Aug. 5.

NCRA Board meetings are open to members who wish to observe their elected leaders in action.

Effective governance requires that Directors feel comfortable engaging in frank, open, and direct conversations as they attempt to identify, assess, and ultimately decide among all possible options for action. Members attending the meeting should keep this in mind and listen with an open mind. Opinions expressed or comments offered by individual Board members in the course of discussions prior to formal action by the Board should not be construed as the official position of the Board or the Association.

Both as a practical matter and for legal reasons, the minutes of the meeting are the final and only official record of the meeting and its actions.

The agenda for Board meetings will be posted to the NCRA website as soon as it becomes available. Consistent with Robert’s Rules of Order, only Board members are permitted to participate in the discussions. Guests may be given the opportunity to make comments.

While the vast majority of the Board’s work is conducted in open session, the Board will consider from time to time confidential or legally sensitive information, and those discussions will be conducted in executive session. At such times, observing members will be asked to leave the room.

Register here.

Register now for President Curry’s last NCRA Town Hall

Register now for the next virtual NCRA Town Hall scheduled for Saturday, July  25 at 10 a.m. (Eastern). This will be the last Town Hall hosted by NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, as he moves into the role of Immediate Past President in August. Curry will take this opportunity to discuss the upcoming NCRA Connect Virtual 2020 conference happening Aug. 7-9. He will also look back at some of the happenings that took place during his tenure, including the shoutout for court reporting by Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, the launch of the Registered Skilled Reporter (RSR) certification, and how NCRA’s Board of Directors and the Association worked to provide virtual educational offerings and a variety of valuable resources to assist members during the COVID-19 crisis.

The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Members can also catch up on previous Town Halls by clicking here. Only NCRA Members may attend the Town Halls. Why wait? Register now!

Message from the STRONG Task Force

Your NCRA Board of Directors and STRONG Task Force want to share the following NCRA Resolution and information with you, our members, so you will be aware of its existence and some of the measures we intend to take to make the users of our services understand how seriously NCRA takes ensuring access to justice for the public by providing accurate speech-to-text translation.

NCRA supports individuals through education and certification, promotion of the stenographic profession throughout the legal industry, and defense of the industry in government. To that end, in February of 2019, NCRA’s STRONG Task Force was created and tasked with the research and development of materials to address emerging challenges to our profession from digital, artificial intelligence (AI), automatic speech recognition (ASR), or video-only means of capturing the record in lieu of a skilled and trained stenographer.

Over the course of the past year’s research, it has become apparent that NCRA needs to conduct a robust investigation of fact-based data gathered nationwide across multiple platforms. Data provided by forensic experts who are engaged in forensic examinations of audio and video media and authentication of recordings/digital data indicate a need to further examine potential problems and security issues that may arise when utilizing digital, artificial intelligence (AI), automatic speech recognition (ASR) software, or video-only means of capturing the spoken word in lieu of a stenographic reporter or captioner.

By way of example, NCRA STRONG member Christopher Day, RPR, has recently released a powerful and compelling video demonstration of the ease of manipulating an audio file with off-the-shelf software. He walks us through the changing of testimony that would be nearly undetectable without the skills of a digital forensic examination of the contents.

Because of the potential impact utilization of unproven technology could have on the practice of law and the public’s trust in the judicial system and accessibility, NCRA believes providing information and data to the end users of our services informs them of some of the dangers associated with alternative methods. It is for that reason the STRONG Task Force, together with NCRA’s Board of Directors, drafted this resolution.

NCRA intends to distribute this resolution in a press release in the weeks ahead. 

Swag update: new items added to the NCRA Merchandise Shop

A number of new items have been added to the NCRA Merchandise Shop including adult and youth-size face masks that can be customized with the NCRA, NCRF, or several newly designed logos.

“What better way to support your national association and show your pride in your profession than by sporting a customized face mask while staying safe during these trying times,” said Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA Senior Director of Education and Certification.

“Since NCRA launched the merchandise shop, response from members has been very positive. Members are purchasing an array of items and have shared with us how much they like the quality of the products and the ease of customizing and ordering. Plus, the free shipping and easy return policy have won kudos from NCRA members who have shopped in the merchandise store,” she added.

Newly released accessories include a bandana, ankle socks, an iPhone case, a fanny pack, a carry-all pouch, and a lunch box. For men, new items include a premium T-shirt, a premium tank top, and a moisture wicking performance T-shirt. In the women’s aisle, check out the newly added premium tank top and T-shirt dress.

In addition to the new logo designs for the facemasks, other available designs include official logos for NCRA, NCRF, NCRA STRONG, DiscoverSteno, I Love Steno, certification logos, and more. Spreadshirt, the online company that supports the NCRA Merchandise Shop, takes care of the customization and ships directly to the customer. The company also offers customers an easy exchange and return policy.

Currently available items already include a variety of styles of men’s and women’s T-shirts, polos, casual tops, a baseball hat, coffee and travel mugs, a mouse pad, and a canvas backpack.

Members who purchase items from Spreadshirt are supporting their national organization’s programs and scholarships while showing off the pride they have in being members of NCRA. 

Be sure to frequently check the NCRA Marketplace on NCRA’s home page to see what’s new in the NCRA Merchandise Shop; new items are continually being added. NCRA will also announce new items and merchandise during special events. NCRA members can also take advantage of special sales such as free shipping and more.

Help advertise the NCRA Merchandise Shop. NCRA members who purchase items are encouraged to share photos of themselves sporting their swag. You might just get featured on the store site or in other marketing materials. Send your photos to pr@ncra.org. Happy shopping!

Register now for the May NCRA Town Hall

Register now for the next virtual NCRA Town Hall, scheduled for Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. (Eastern) with NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI. Conversation will include the success of NCRA’s May Celebrate Certification MonthStenopalooza event, and an update on the latest stimulus bill and how it could benefit members. Curry will also provide an update about the 2020 NCRA Conference & Expo and share with members what the Board has been doing to help the Association get through the COVID-19 crisis, including the recovery that is beginning as some businesses and courts begin to reopen.

The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Members can also catch up on previous Town Halls by clicking here. Only NCRA Members may attend the Town Halls. Why wait? Register now!

Highlight your business and save in our new digital NCRA Sourcebook

The extended May 15 deadline is approaching fast for submitting Business Directory listings or display advertisements for inclusion in the NCRA Sourcebook.

Due to the changing business environment from COVID-19, the 2020-2021 NCRA Sourcebook will be a digital version, which will include clickable links to make connecting even easier. Having all the NCRA Sourcebook information available digitally will make it even easier to share with new audiences. The NCRA public relations team will be sharing the NCRA Sourcebook link to legal trades, national legal publications, and groups that support paralegals and others in the legal profession.

All members are listed in this directory free. Members can choose to list themselves in other CBSA (core-based statistical area) locations for only $99. Also exclusive to NCRA members is the opportunity to advertise in the Business Directory section of the NCRA Sourcebook.

“We want our ads to be accessible and affordable for all members,” said NCRA Director of Membership Natalie Dippenaar. “We understand that in this time of uncertainty, it is hard to make the decision to spend money on advertising. By pricing these ads at cost, we can offer as many members as possible the opportunity to invest in their businesses and their future.”

These ad specials are available until May 15:

The premium business listing in the Business Directory is marked down from $250 to $100. Advertisers who opt for a premium listing in the NCRA Sourcebook will be listed alphabetically by state and CBSA. Premium listings include the company’s name, address, email address, website, and a description about the services they offer. Premium listings are in black and white for a cost of $100. For an additional cost, firms can also be listed under additional cities and states.

Box listings in the Business Directory are marked down from $395 to $225. Alternatively, NCRA members may upgrade their business listing to a box listing. In addition to including everything in a premium listing, a box listing allows a logo or photo, the option to list under multiple cities, and the option to use an original design or JCR court reporting listing advertisement. Box listings are available in color. This option is now only $225.

Member listings for additional CBSA locations are $99. All NCRA members are listed once in their primary CBSA location, and members who serve larger regions may want to choose to be listed in a second location. For example, a person who works in Baltimore, Md., may want to also be listed for Washington, D.C., if the person finds work in both locations. 

Display advertising ranging from one-sixth of a page to a full page is also available through May 15.

For more information about placing your ad and showcasing your business, download the NCRA 2020 Media Kit or email NCRA Development Relations Manager Jill Parker Landsman at jlandsman@ncra.org.

Celebrate Certification Month with savings

Kimberly Falgiani, RDR, CRR, CRC

Celebrate your pride in your certification and save on swag during NCRA’s 2020 Celebrate Certification Month. Take advantage of 15 percent off all customized items on May 7 and 8 in the NCRA Merchandise Store.

Choose from a variety of items such as clothing, accessories, gifts, and more, and customize them with your favorite NCRA, NCRF, I Love Steno, NCRA STRONG, or official certification logos.

“Navigating the store is easy. At first I looked at all the designs and the new products that are available. Then, I went back a day later and picked a design and made a choice of what I wanted to purchase,” said Kimberly Falgiani, RDR, CRR, CRC, a captioner from Warren, Ohio, who recently purchased a customized polo shirt and coffee mug from NCRA’s online merchandise store.  

“When it comes to customizing, the way the site is laid out, you don’t really have to do much. If you choose a design before proceeding, that design shows up on the product to be previewed, so it’s simple. You may customize, though, on whatever you choose,” she added.

Falgiani said that she received an immediate email confirming her order was placed, shipping was timely, and the items arrived in great shape. She also said the polo shirt she ordered was pretty true to size and was of the quality she had expected. She also noted that the coffee mug is sturdy and that running it through the dishwasher has not affected the colors of the logo at all.

“I saw some media about NCRA having a new merchandise store, so I took a look on the website at it. Go check it out! I was surprised at all the shirt styles and how easy it is to change around the logos on the different products,” she added.

The online company that provides the items and customization, Spreadshirt, takes care of processing the orders and ships goods directly to the consumer at no charge. The company also offers customers an easy exchange and return policy. Members who purchase items from the merchandise store are supporting their national organization’s programs and scholarships while showing off their NCRA pride. 

Be sure to check back to the NCRA Marketplace on the homepage to see what new items and merchandise are being offered. NCRA will also announce new items and merchandise during special events.

Help advertise the NCRA Merchandise Store. NCRA members who do purchase items are encouraged to share photos of themselves sporting their swag. You might just get featured on the store site or in other marketing materials. Send your photos to pr@ncra.org. Happy shopping!

Register now for the April NCRA Town Hall

Don’t miss out on the next virtual NCRA Town Hall, scheduled for Saturday, April 18, at 10 a.m. (Eastern). NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI, will be joined by Director Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, an official court reporter from Shawnee, Kan. Conversation will include NCRA’s May Celebrate Certification Month, the upcoming Stenopalooza event, and latest on the impact of the coronavirus on businesses.

“My membership in NCRA is a priority for me because it shows my commitment to supporting my profession, it gives me access to so many educational and certification opportunities, and it reassures me that I’ve got an advocate in Washington, D.C., who has my back,” said Kimberly Falgiani, RDR, CRR, CRC, a captioner from Warren, Ohio. “But especially in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the president’s Town Halls have given me added reassurance that my membership means I am receiving the most up-to-date information and resources that can benefit me and other members directly. For that, I am extremely appreciative and proud to be an NCRA member.”

The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Members can also catch up on previous Town Halls by clicking here. Only NCRA Members may attend the Town Halls. Why wait? Register now!